West Virginia’s 74-51 victory over Missouri was an historic one for the legacy of Bob Huggins, as it was his 876th career win. That moves him to seventh-most all-time in the history of college basketball, tied with legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp.
Countless players have played for the coach over his career, which spans 36 years and four programs — but it was his current Mountaineer squad that gave him this milestone victory.
They may be a small piece of that win count — 1.8 percent, to be exact — but that number is something they keep in the back of their minds every time they hit the court.
“I’m trying to get him as many wins as I can before I get out of here, honestly,” said senior guard Jermaine Haley.
Despite what their coach may say after their wins, this team has a lot to be happy about this season. They’ve eclipsed their win total from last year, their newcomers are turning heads nationally and they could be playing some of the best defense in the country, to name a few.
But playing for West Virginia, and especially Bob Huggins, is something players like Haley are especially proud of.
“He’s gonna be a Hall of Fame coach and just to be a part of that is — I don’t even have words to explain what that is,” Haley continued. “But I’m glad we got the win for him tonight, and we’re going to continue to get more wins for him throughout the season.”
Now tied with Rupp at the 7 spot, Huggins is just three wins behind former UNC coach Dean Smith and current UNC coach Roy Williams, who are now tied at 879 wins. Above them are even more legendary names: Calhoun, Knight, Boeheim and Krzyzewski.
As he climbs the list, Huggins remains both humble and focused. After win no. 876, he recalled an anecdote left to him by his father Charlie, a storied high school basketball coach in Ohio.
“I used to sit there and listen to my dad, and my dad’s one of the winningest coaches in Ohio high school. They used to say to him, you know, ‘That was win number whatever and you just tied so-and-so,’ and his response was, ‘Man, that just means I’m old.’ And you look at every one of those guys on there, they’re old, you know? I don’t know, I mean, I’ve never been caught up in that. I’m more caught up in, we’re 16-3, and we need to be, 29-3, or more than that I guess if we’re gonna win the conference tournament.”Bob Huggins on moving to 7th on the all-time wins list